National recognition for net zero progress

Cllr Scott Patient outside Halifax Town Hall

Calderdale Council’s innovative work to tackle the climate emergency has received national recognition as one of only 10 councils shortlisted in the Net Zero category of the prestigious LGC Awards.

The awards, which are held annually by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC), recognise the best of local government innovation and service delivery.

The Net Zero award category is intended to mark excellence in any aspect of a council’s work in addressing the carbon footprint of the Council, its services and its broader local area.

Calderdale Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and the Calderdale Climate Action Plan launched in December 2023. It focuses on the steps that the whole Calderdale community can take between 2023 and 2026 to achieve the borough’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038.

The Council’s award submission highlights the climate action work taking place in landscapes across the borough to work towards this ambitious net zero target, and aims to reduce flood risk, capture carbon and support nature.

This includes natural flood management (NFM) initiatives, with funding and support from the Environment Agency and the Woodland Trust being used to plant over thirty thousand trees and hedgerow plants by the end of this current financial year.

The Council works with community partners, including the organisations Slow the Flow and Treesponsibilty/Forus Tree, and this partnership has seen thousands of trees planted and over a thousand leaky dams created to reduce and slow the peaks of water reaching rivers after intense rainfall. Over 90 sites in the borough have now also been used for NFM, with more than £800k allocated to local landowners to support measures on private land in Calderdale.

Recognising the importance of moorland environments for carbon capture, the Council is also supporting the ground-breaking sphagnum moss project (part of The National Lottery funded Growing Resilience Project) working with volunteers to grow sphagnum moss in a nursery environment.

The moss carpets on the ground of the moors and bogs act like a sponge. It restores degraded moorland, soaks up carbon, holds water and stops run-off, prevents the decay of dead plant material and eventually forms peat.

The volunteers have worked tirelessly to find the best ways to grow the moss, to ultimately plant it in suitable sites around Calderdale to restore damaged moorland that currently emits carbon.

Volunteers play a key role in the journey to achieving net zero. In addition to the sphagnum moss work, they’ve planted trees and hedgerows, managed invasive species, undertaken vegetation surveys, built leaky dams, and helped educate schools and family groups.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“Our ambitious net zero targets have required us to develop climate focused projects which support carbon reduction, with many also helping to reduce the very real risk of flooding in the borough.

“I’m delighted that this strong partnership work with local organisations and our passionate volunteers has been recognised in the shortlist for this year’s LGC Awards.

“The application focuses on our landscape work, including our natural flood management initiatives and techniques to help restore our moorlands. The work demonstrates real innovation and raising its profile will allow other organisations to learn from our experiences and hopefully support wider climate action across the country.” 

The organisations shortlisted for the LGC Awards will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures within local government. 

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 12 June 2024.

To keep up to date with climate action across Calderdale, sign up for email updates at: Climate Emergency newsletter(external link).

The Calderdale Climate Action Plan is a three-year strategy that sets out the action that needs to be taken in Calderdale before 2026 to set us on our path to a Net Zero future. Visit for more information.